Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. John 11:5 KJV
Once when we were vacationing in Amish country, we decided to take a detour on a back road just for fun. Seeing a farm stand being tended by a little red-haired girl, I parked the car and we got out and began to browse through bins of fresh vegetables, homemade jams, pies and cookies. “Good morning!” I said smiling, while my wife was picking out a bag of cookies. As I went to pay for them, I asked, “And what’s your name?”
“Oh, my name is Martha.” The little girl answered quietly
“Well, I ‘ve got good news for you Martha.” I continued. The Bible says that Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and her brother, so you can know for sure that he loves you!”
In the children’s song it says, “Jesus loves me this I know; for the Bible tells me so.” Have you ever wondered where the Bible says that?” The answer is that His love is mentioned everywhere! It says, He knit us together before we were born, and He promises to carry us till old age. He is near us when we are broken hearted and gives us strength when we are weak. He gives streams in the desert when we are thirsty and provides daily bread when we are hungry. On every Bible page we can find His love. The song then goes on saying, “Little ones to Him belong.” So, if today you feel as small as the little Martha we met at the farm stand, then you are exactly who Jesus came to love and He is passing by you today!
This parable of the vineyard had always held for me the mystery of sunlight shining through fog. I was sure something wonderful was there but couldn’t quite make out exactly what. I once figured that the owner of the vineyard kept retuning for more workers because he didn’t want to lose his harvest. It reminded me of working a hayfield with six of my friends till 2 am. A thunderstorm was rolling in and hay left in the field might be spoiled so we labored till the first drops of rain started falling. But the story of this man returning over and over to the town square till almost quitting time just seemed odd.
Why did he hire men even when it was almost quitting time and why pay them the same as the others? After all the guys who only worked one hour certainly weren’t producing enough to even cover their wage. But then I remembered that when the owner hired those fellows he asked why they were standing around all day and they told him ,”because no one hired us.” They had stayed because they clung to hope even as the afternoon shadows grew longer.
And isn’t that the wonderful depth of the grace of Jesus? He doesn’t come until even the final hours because he cares about hay ruined in his field or grapes left on the vine. He comes over and over looking for us. The lostness of people who no one else wants, who stand abandoned in the town square stirs God’s heart to action! So with whatever few hours we have in His field let’s work with joy, knowing that from the depths of His grace we will receive far more than we deserve on the day we stand before Him!
Matthew 6:28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.
If you are like me maybe you been doing more some worrying off and on during this pandemic. We wonder if our family members will get sick or what is going to happen to our nation. We worry about going to the grocery store and wonder when we can go to church again.
The people listening to Jesus were not so much different than us. They had plenty of their own troubles – like corrupt government officials extorting them for money – the threat of getting leprosy that could put you in social isolation for life and a strict religious system that might get you kicked out of the synagogue for even listening to Jesus. So Jesus didn’t just say; “Don’t worry; Be happy!” Instead He talked about lilies. These weren’t the lilies we associate with Easter or the garden lilies we are familiar with but were flowers that grew wild in the fields of Galilee.
That kind of blossom reminds me of the wild flowers in the farm fields. Generally they were unnoticed while the hay was tall since they grew in the shade of the taller grass. But once the fields were mown and the hay made into bales their tiny yellow, purple and red blossoms put on quite a show. My job being to stack the bales I got the delight of a great view of them from my perch high atop the hay wagon as we road we back to the barn.
Since Jesus said to consider flowers as a stress reliever I thought that today it might be fun to just share some flower photos from my morning walks. Have a blessed and unworried day safe on the top of God’s hay wagon as he steers us slowly back to His barn!